Solomon Awa wins landslide victory in Iqaluit mayoral race
Incumbent wins support with 78 per cent of vote of votes cast to defeat 2 challengers
Solomon Awa isn’t Iqaluit’s fill-in mayor any longer.
On Monday night, the city’s voters elected him to his own term as mayor in a landslide victory that saw him receive 78 per cent of the votes cast, easily defeating challengers Vincent Yvon and Lili Weemen.
Elections Nunavut posted the unofficial results for the race to lead the territorial capital shortly after 11 p.m., four hours after the polls closed.
With 10 of 10 polls reporting, Awa finished with 1,007 of the 1,289 total votes cast in the mayor’s race.
Finishing second was Yvon with 171 votes. Weemen finished third with 90 votes.
After serving as deputy mayor, Awa was appointed to the top job in 2022 after Kenny Bell’s abrupt resignation last October.
Awa, who works as the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit specialist with Qikiqtani Inuit Association, originally declared himself as a candidate for council. But on the final day for candidates to register, he entered the race for mayor instead.
An author and well-known elder in the community, Awa said he entered the race feeling he had the support of most residents.
His campaign included pledges to reduce utility rates, improve recreation for youth and cut burial costs.
Awa said he spent election night at a friend’s house, playing Yahtzee and other board games.
Despite the results coming out after his usual bedtime, as he jokingly noted, Awa described feeling emotional that he received so much support from his fellow community members.
“I’m really happy that a lot of people supported [me] when I put my name in,” Awa said.
“I’m really thankful, I really appreciate it.”
Awa said he’s looking forward to meeting with the new council, with old faces and new, to figure out what’s next.
“They know the drill,” he said.
“They’ve got lots of experience … they’re going to [be] very resourceful to the city.”
Iqaluit’s council race results were also posted shortly after 11 p.m.
Five incumbents – Kim Smith, Romeyn Stevenson, Kyle Sheppard, Samuel Tilley and Simon Nattaq – are returning to city hall.
Three new council members – Harry Flaherty, Methusala Kunuk and Jack Anawak – were elected.
Swany Amarapala was the only incumbent candidate that won’t return to council.
Smith, who received the most votes for council with 829, said in a message she was “straight-up floored” by the results. She said she spent the night refreshing the Elections Nunavut page waiting for results from Iqaluit.
“I am proud and humbled by the overwhelming support from our community,” she said.
“Looking forward to getting to work!”
Sheppard congratulated Smith for receiving the largest number of votes. He told Nunatsiaq News “biggest of congratulations to Coun. Smith, that’s a stellar result.”
For his own re-election, he said “I’m really, really excited. I think Iqaluit has elected a really strong team.”
In his own statement to Nunatsiaq News, Stevenson echoed Sheppard’s sentiment saying he is excited to work with a mix of incumbents and new council members.
For priorities, Stevenson said “we need to ensure waste management, water supply and land development are priorities that are kept in the forefront of city operations.”